The 2023 MLB season has certainly seen its highs and lows in short order and we’re nearly two months in. MLB Injuries have stacked up, especially at the starting pitcher position. Luckily Adam Ronis has done a great job on a weekly basis advising you, the FAmily, on who are the top fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups. All in all, it’s been a season where being aggressive has been the key to success (as it usually is) and remaining diligent and active in your league has hopefully kept you afloat, or even better, you find your fantasy baseball lineup thriving with each new scoring period. At this point, almost every team in the league has played 40 games or they’re getting very close to it. With nearly 25% of the season in the rearview, we have a better idea where some players are at and have enough of a sample size to digest their great, or poor, numbers so far. We have all the tools necessary to help you make your roster decisions from waiver wire additions, to a frequently updated Fantasy Baseball Closer Gridfantasy baseball rankings, and projections as well. However, if you want some buy-low and sell-high candidates, then read on and let’s see if you can make some moves in your favor.


Fantasy Baseball Buy-Low Candidates

Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros

Tucker hasn’t been awful by any means, but at the same time I’m sure several Tucker owners are saying “I really used draft capital on this?” Tucker has just one home run since April 23rd but he had a pretty solid weekend in Chicago recording four hits in the series against the White Sox including a pair of doubles and he recorded a stolen base on Friday. He’s off the pace of recording his third straight 30-home run season, but he might make up for it in the stolen base department. Overall the return of Jose Altuve to the Astros lineup can only help Tucker as the season progresses and we should expect Tucker to bounce back based purely on what we’ve seen from the two previous seasons of data.

Zack Wheeler, Philadelphia Phillies

In an effort to not speak down to you, the reader, I think it’s safe to say… Zack Wheeler is better than this… Right? He looked great in his last start against the Blue Jays last Wednesday where he tossed seven innings, struck out seven, and the lone damage done was a solo home run to Brandon Belt. Before that one-off home run to Belt, Wheeler had not allowed a home run since his first start way back on April Fool’s Day. He touts a 3.80 ERA on Sunday with a 2.58 FIP (3.38 xERA) and he’s allowed just two walks in his last 18.1 innings of work. Seems like I may be grasping at some low-hanging fruit but if you can acquire Wheeler for a reasonable price, I would do so because he should start turning his season around.

George Springer, Toronto Blue Jays

No doubt about it, Springer has had his struggles in the 2023 MLB season. Heading into Sunday’s slate he was slashing just .219/.283/.308 with a .089 ISO. However, he did go 2-for-5 with a home run in the series-clinching sweep of the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. He’s hit safely in nine of his last ten games and he isn’t striking out a ton. It looks like positive regression is very much alive for Springer as he heads into the hotter months just North of the border.

Brent Rooker, Oakland Athletics

It wasn’t that long ago that Colby Conway mentioned Brent Rooker in his weekly MLB Streaks & Trends article that is an incredibly useful tool if you’re maybe looking for hidden free agent names that don’t quite crack the bi-weekly Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire articles. Rooker is a bit of a journeyman MLB player that you hear a lot about on social media. He’s 28 years old and has spent most of his career in the minor leagues. So far in 2023, Rooker is slashing .316/.424/.667 (heading into Sunday’s slate of games) with 11 home runs and 29 RBI. He’s not a threat on the base path to steel bases, but you have to imagine the Athletics are sellers at the deadline and Rooker is a player that could go to another team, and mind you, he’s hitting .344 on the road this season with seven home runs and 20 RBI. The Athletics were 9-32 entering Sunday’s slate and you have to imagine they’ll be sellers at the trade deadline and Rooker is a player they’ll be looking to deal and regardless of where he ends up, it has to be a healthier environment than Oakland. Rooker has the makings of a player most may try to sell high on, but I think you can still acquire him at reasonable cost.

Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox

I normally wouldn’t suggest buying low on a 34-year-old starting pitcher that has dealt with an array of injuries the past few seasons, but Sale’s numbers do allude to some positive regression. He has four quality starts in his last five trips to the rubber and on the season he’s averaging 11.22 K/9. He’s not completely prone to being tagged though. Over his last five starts he’s allowed 11 earned runs, but five of them came in one start against the Baltimore Orioles. In this five-start span he has averaged over a strikeout per inning. The velocity hasn’t really changed too much from previous seasons. He’s always been great at locating his arsenal effectively and that’s held true of late with just three walks in his last 25.1 innings of work. He’s not the ace he used to be, but the veteran still has some tricks up his sleeve so long as he doesn’t cut them off

Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles

Truthfully, I was one that missed out on Henderson heading into the season. I looked for every reason to put him as a “sell high” candidate. But he’s failed to live up to expectations so if anything you’d be selling him low. So I swallowed my pride and had to admit to myself that maybe this kid is a buy-low candidate. He turns 22 at the end of June and despite the youth, he still had a 19.4% walk rate entering Sunday. His strikeout numbers are still inflated and you could persuade the Henderson owner to sell him for low value because of such numbers, but we would be buying the upside in the event he turns it all around. It will eventually click for the talented rookie and it could be worth gloating that you bought him at the right time.

Tommy Edman, St. Louis Cardinals

I do consider Edman a bit of a buy-low candidate in the truest sense because I wouldn’t give up a ton of value for him. At this point in the season it might be difficult for him to reach that 90-run, 30-stolen base floor we’ve seen from him in previous seasons. Entering Sunday he’s slashing a paltry .238/.304/.418 with just three swipes and 17 runs scored. But he does have five home runs and is on pace to break his personal record of 13 set last year. Yippee, right? But Edman has largely hit towards the bottom of the order. But as recently as Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday he was hitting atop the lineup for the Cards and recorded a hit in each game. St. Louis currently sits at the bottom of the NL Central so they aren’t very good, but if Edman can stick at the top of the lineup then perhaps that helps his counting statistics in addition to his batting average. 


Fantasy Baseball Sell-High Candidates

Shane Bieber, Cleveland Guardians

Bieber is a popular sell high candidate. Really the only argument needed to sell Bieber is the K/9 which sits at 6.79 through eight starts. He did manage to strike out nine in his last start against the Detroit Tigers, but in six of his previous seven starts he struck out four or fewer hitters. In addition to the low strikeout totals he has a 2.61 ERA with a 3.60 FIP, 4.07 xFIP, and a 4.54 xERA. The velocity on his fastball is down roughly three miles per hour from where it was during his 2020 Cy Young campaign so it may just be worth testing the trade waters to see what you can get for him. Name recognition alone can still attract a decent haul.

Andres Gimenez, Cleveland Guardians

As someone who reads the MLB Streaks & Trends every Saturday, Gimenez has been appearing in it more and more, and not in the more positive section. Sure, there may be more emphasis on “selling” rather than “selling high” at this point but he is coming off a weekend series against the Halos where he collected five hits and even belted a home run on Saturday, so maybe you can sell him on a quick turnaround. Gimenez was a player that entered this season as a potential 20/20 candidate after falling short of that mark by three dingers a year ago. The goal in selling Gimenez would be his six steals so far (and hoping your trade partner doesn’t realize he hasn’t swiped a bag since April 19th) and bake in the fact he’s still scoring runs. There is an argument that Gimenez could be a buy-low candidate and I can see that side of the coin, but it is possible that Gimenez possibly exceeded expectations in 2022 and that he is more of a player that strikes out 20-25% of the time and walks less than 10% while sparingly offering scoring potential. If you’re still a believer in Gimenez then sit tight. But I’ll be looking to see what he can get me.

Bryce Elder, Atlanta Braves

Elder has certainly had a good start to the 2023 MLB season, but he screams regression in due time. As of Sunday he has a 1.94 ERA, but a 3.55 FIP, 3.73 xFIP, and a 4.30 xERA. So negative regression seems in store and if you can sell him, you probably should. He’s not an elite strikeout pitcher. Even through the minor leagues he never averaged a strikeout per inning. And while the innings and opportunity might be available to him (the Braves starting rotation has taken its injury licks), Elder has allowed five walks in his last 10.1 innings of work while only striking out seven. I’ll gladly embrace the hate for this next opinion but he’s more of a streaming option than a long-term solution so if you can target someone in your league who is hurting for pitcher depth, you should float Elder out to them and start negotiations.

Eduardo Rodriguez, Detroit Tigers

Rodriguez may not be so much of a “sell high” candidate as much as he is a “see what you can get for him” candidate. He was dealt some injuries in 2021 and 2022 which led to some inflated statistics, but he’s off to a good start this year. His 1.57 ERA doesn’t look so bad next to his 2.59 xERA, but at his best with the Red Sox he averaged nearly a strikeout per inning while performing as a close 3.00 BB/9 type of pitcher. So far this year the strikeouts are down, but the walks are way down as well. The velocity is down slightly from previous seasons and he’s leaning more on his cutter than he is on his slider and fastball. If I’m being honest I’d expect his walk rates to increase before his strikeout numbers do. He’s done incredibly well over his last five starts where he’s allowed just one earned run so perhaps that is the selling point with E-Rod for those managers in your league deeply affected by the injuries to starting pitchers the last couple weeks.

Riley Greene, Detroit Tigers

Let’s throw in another player from the Motor City Kitties. Greene has been a player I’ve been blinded by for what feels like forever despite his youth. He has 21 hits since April 26th but only six of those have been for extra base hits. In that span he’s slashing .333/.382/.460 which isn’t awful at all, but he still has an alarming strikeout rate of 29.8% on the season. The good news is that he already has five stolen bases this year but that’s arguably a by-product of Major League Baseball’s new rules. He’s currently putting the ball in the ground 58.4% of the time with a 2.95 GB:FB ratio. Greene is still very young. He’s not even 23 years old yet. He still has upside for future years, but this doesn’t strike me as the season where he turns it around.

James Outman, Los Angeles Dodgers

The only knock on Outman at this time is that entering Sunday he was striking out at an alarming 31.6% clip and it doesn’t help that he struck out three times on Sunday. That’s one way to celebrate your 26th birthday (yes, he turned 26 on Sunday). Overall, he does seem to have reached his upside. But he does still get regular playing time in one of the best lineups in baseball and he has 26 runs scored while recording 23 RBI in 41 games. He’s gone a little cold at the dish so far in May with just eight hits in 46 plate appearances so perhaps we’re seeing a little negative regression already. It certainly doesn’t hurt to see what you can get for him.

Justin Steele, Chicago Cubs

I’m listing Steele at the bottom of the “sell high” section because I don’t believe the return you’ll get is hardly worth the sell because unlike the other players listed in this section, I am fairly convinced he can sustain a little more success. But in the truest sense of what this article is about, he certainly meets the criteria of selling a player at peak value. The downside with Steele is the strikeouts are down from a year ago. Or at the very least he’s regressed to the mean from the 12.79 K/9 he posted down the final six starts of last season. This year he’s only collecting 7.11 K/9 which is a small blemish on his resume when you still look at his six wins in eight starts and he’s recorded a quality start in all but one outing. So far, he’s only given up 17.5% hard contact after that number was around 25% a year ago. And his 1.82 ERA should regress when you look at his 3.21 xERA, and overall, we are talking about a pitcher that turns 28 in July and his career high in innings pitched (119) came just last year. Again, it’s not like a complete reversal of fortunes is on the horizon but it doesn’t hurt to test the water to see what you could get for a fantasy baseball sleeper that has gotten off to a great start aside from the strikeout totals. 


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